Position marketing ops as a strategic partner: A New Year’s resolution

Make 2023 the year in which you change perceptions about your marketing operations team and its capabilities.



2023 is upon us, and with a new year comes the opportunity for a fresh start.


For many of us, that may mean setting a personal goal of adhering to a new workout routine to get into better physical shape. But what are your new year’s resolutions for your career? For 2023, my new year’s resolution is to get my Marketing Operations team in better shape by changing the internal perception of the team. 


Too often the MOps function is thought of as a group of tacticians who are simply cranking out emails at the request of marketers. What often goes unnoticed is that Marketing Ops professionals have so much more to offer than just their technical skills. Where the team really adds value is when they can understand the goals of the business, and identify new areas of opportunity to achieve those goals. 


My resolution is to change the perception of Marketing Ops to be seen as a strategic partner that marketing leadership relies on to achieve their objectives. In order to do that, I need to market the value of my team internally. Inspired by posts from Darrell Alfonso and Ryan Gunn, here is a five-step internal marketing plan for how to achieve just that.


 


1. Define marketing objective and key results for how to measure progress



  • Objective: To have marketing leadership view the Marketing Ops team as a strategic partner.

    • Key Result #1: Increase the percentage of campaigns that Marketing Ops is invited to be a part of the initial strategy planning meetings

      • Too often, the Marketing Ops team is left out of these initial planning meetings, and only brought in to execute the campaign after all the key decisions have been made. Getting included more often in the up-front planning will demonstrate that we are making tangible progress towards being seen as strategic partners.

    • Key Result #2: Track the ROI of campaigns that Marketing Ops was included up front versus campaigns where they were not

      • When Marketing Ops is included in the strategy planning early on, the team can offer suggestions of ways to use data to enhance the targeting criteria, or optimize the hand-off between marketing and sales, etc. These campaigns are going to be more effective and more efficient than campaigns where Marketing Ops is scrambling just to get something out the door after all the decisions have been made. Reporting on the difference in ROI between these two situations will demonstrate the tangible value Marketing Ops brings as a strategic partner.

    • Key Result #3: Decrease the number of “back channel” requests for campaigns or technologies that do not follow the proper intake and evaluation process

      • When our colleagues don’t follow our intake processes and go around them to get things done “quickly”, it demonstrates that they do not understand the level of effort it takes for Marketing Ops to do our jobs well. This key result will demonstrate that we are succeeding in educating the rest of the department on the value that we bring and the resources it takes to perform our jobs to the best of our ability.

2. Identify target audience



  • CMO

    • Identify what the CMO is most focused on. Is it new customer growth? Current customer retention? Increasing brand awareness? Reducing costs and becoming more efficient? Identifying what her key objectives are and finding ways to help her achieve those goals will be critical. 

  • Channel Marketing Leaders

    • A good tactic to take with channel marketing leaders is to find an area of opportunity that Marketing Ops can help them with that they haven’t had time to pursue yet. Is there an audience they haven’t had a chance to target yet? Or a particular product they have been wanting to try and promote? If your Marketing Ops team can help test some of these ideas that have been in the back of their mind, channel marketers are going to understand the value MOps can bring as a strategic partner.

  • Sales Managers

    • While sales managers are outside of the marketing department, getting them to know your Marketing Ops team to the point where they can give your team members recognition by name is hugely important. When a sales manager mentions a Marketing Ops team member’s name to the CMO, it’s going to make an impression. Focus on finding a problem you can help sales solve. What parts of their job are the most frustrating? What is a process that is broken and needs fixing or could be automated? Find ways to make their lives easier.

3. Target audience interviews



  • Each quarter identify 1-3 members of your target audience groups to interview about the following topics:

    1. Tech Stack Audit: What technologies are they using? Are these documented as part of the tech stack? What features of the tools do they use? What do they like and dislike about their tools?

      • This gives you an opportunity to see if you can empower them by training them on additional features and functionality they can get out of their existing tools, or perhaps find some cost savings by suggesting the consolidation of overlapping or underutilized tools.

    2. Process Optimization: Ask them to describe a few processes they use most frequently. Document these processes and identify areas of opportunity for improvement or automation.
    3. Data and Reporting: Ask them about how they measure their success today, and ask them to show you the reports that they currently use. Look for opportunities to either create new reports that would provide value, or find ways to enrich their existing reports.

4. Prioritize quartetly projects



  • After you’ve identified the projects that could be helpful for your internal customers based on feedback from the interviews, it’s time to prioritize those projects based on what you can achieve this quarter. Design a weighted prioritization matrix to rank what projects you’ll tackle first. Determine the criteria by which you’ll evaluate your projects (ex: Business Value, Level of Effort, Customer Influence, Time to Execute, etc.) and weight each factor according to its relative importance. Then score your list of potential projects against the criteria and start tackling the projects with the highest scores first.

5. Internal promotion: Share your wins



  • Find ways to communicate to your stakeholders the successes your teams have had, and the impact they are making.



  • Find ways to communicate to your stakeholders the successes your teams have had, and the impact they are making.

    1. Develop a quarterly newsletter that highlights the projects you’ve tackled and the impact that you’ve achieved. Include testimonials or case studies from internal clients that have benefitted from your efforts.
    2. Hold quarterly “Lunch and Learn” meetings on different topics to showcase Marketing Ops’ capabilities. The topics could be trainings on different tools, or presenting research on trends in the industry, or a retrospective of a successful project you’ve accomplished. It’s also a great opportunity to do Q&A with your stakeholders to understand what they are most interested in.

Just as designing a workout plan to follow each week will help you achieve your personal fitness goals, developing an internal marketing plan can hold you accountable for the work that it will take to change the internal perception of your Marketing Operations team.


It will take discipline, but by staying focused and continuing to promote your team and educate your internal stakeholders on the value Marketing Operations can offer, your team will earn a seat at the table with the other marketing leaders. Once your team is seen as the strategic partner they should be, the sky is the limit for what your organization will be able to achieve.  



The post Position marketing ops as a strategic partner: A New Year’s resolution appeared first on MarTech.

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About the author






Megan Michuda





Megan Michuda is currently the SVP, director of marketing operations and innovation at BOK Financial. Prior to joining BOK Financial, she served as global head of marketing technology at Janus Henderson Investors. Janus Henderson was a Stackie Award winner in 2018. Megan is currently responsible for BOK Financial’s marketing technology stack, marketing automation, digital analytics, and marketing operations. In 2020, Megan’s startup Stacktus was acquired by CabinetM, a leader in martech management. Megan is now both a user of CabinetM as well as an advisor. Megan received her bachelor’s degree from Brown University and her master’s of science in technology management from University of Denver.

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